Support for those arriving under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
New govt news release:
As part of the New Plan for Immigration, the government announced that those coming to the UK through resettlement routes would receive immediate indefinite leave to remain, and today (September 1) the Home Secretary has announced that this will apply to Afghans who worked closely with the British military and UK Government in Afghanistan, and risked their lives in doing so, meaning they can now stay in the UK without any time restrictions.
People already relocated to the UK under the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) will be able to apply free of charge to convert their temporary leave into indefinite leave. This will give Afghans the certainty and stability to rebuild their lives with unrestricted rights to work and the option to apply for British citizenship in the future.
Support to include:
- £5 million funding for councils in England, Wales and Scotland to support Afghans coming to the UK via the ARAP scheme and provide a top up to help meet the costs of renting properties;
- £3 million of additional NHS funding so that Afghans arriving under the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme can access healthcare and register with a GP
Families who need support navigating the system will also have access to liaison officers who can work with local authorities to help them get set up with a GP, National Insurance number, school place, accommodation and more tailored support, as required.
The Refugee Council has set up an Information hub for Afghans to bring together the most up to date information in one place from a range of sources:
Pretty much replicates the government’s press release from earlier in the week, but the latest issues of the DWP’s Touchbase is focused on Support for Afghan arrivals in the UK.
Home Office update:
Funding boost for councils as new Afghan resettlement plans set out
Councils who support people through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme will receive £20,520 per person, over 3 years, for resettlement and integration costs. This is based on the previous Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, but over 3 rather than 5 years, with more money provided in the crucial early period to help people settle and become part of their new communities.
Local councils and health partners who resettle families will also receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English language provision for adults requiring this support and £2,600 to cover healthcare.
A further £20 million of flexible funding will be made available to support local authorities with higher cost bases with any additional costs in the provision of services. In addition, the previously announced Afghan Housing Costs Fund will increase from £5 million to £17 million and run for 2 extra years to help local authorities provide housing and give certainty that funding will be available in the future.
Also confirms that -
- while it is expected the vast majority of people resettled under the Scheme will be Afghan, nationals of other countries, for example in mixed nationality families, will be eligible.
- spouses, partners and dependent children under 18 years of eligible individuals will be eligible for the route. Other family members may be resettled in exceptional circumstances.
- unaccompanied children will be accepted where resettlement in the UK is in their best interest, for example if they cannot be reunited with family in the region.